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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Besides mothballs, fewer deputies worry environmentalists



Pinellas County officials discussions about mothballing preserves and education centers have stirred environmentalists, but this weekend will add another bit of worry:

Taking effect April 18, Sheriff Jim Coats has cut the environmental lands unit patrolling the preserves to two officers, and merged it into shrunken marine unit of five officers. It's an early stab at managing budget cut decisions.

But news that five officers will patrol thousands of acres and 143 miles of coast worried several people at Tuesday night's meeting of preserve supporters at Weedon Island. 

"What are our politicians thinking to allow this to come to pass??" asked Lorraine Margeson in an email late Wednesday, urging the County Commission to approve new fees this summer.

David DeCamp, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:32pm]


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